Freight bills; examination; refunds.
Common carriers of passengers or property by water; certificate required.
Information, papers and accounting.
Payment of office expenses by railroads.
In this chapter:
"Department" means the department of transportation.
"Office" means the office of the commissioner of railroads.
"Railroad historical society" means a nonprofit historical society that operates railroad locomotives and rolling stock on railroad tracks for the purpose of historic preservation and is not a common carrier.
Definitions, scope of chapter, application of statute. 195.02(1)(1)
In this chapter, unless a different meaning is manifest: "Railroad" means and embraces all corporations, companies, individuals, associations, their lessees, trustees or receivers that own, operate, manage or control any railroad or part of a railroad as a common carrier in this state, or cars, or other equipment used thereon, or bridges, terminals or sidetracks, used in connection therewith, whether owned by such railroad or otherwise.
This chapter applies to the transportation of passengers and property between points within this state, and to the receiving, switching, delivering, storing and handling of such property, and to all charges connected therewith, and applies to all common carriers engaged in the transportation of passengers or property wholly by rail or partly by rail and partly by water, and to all common carriers of property wholly by water which operate between fixed end points, but shall not apply to transportation of property by water under contract as a private carrier.
This chapter shall not apply to private railroads that are not common carriers.
"Railroad" also means and embraces common carriers of property by water which operate between fixed end points, and all of the duties required of, and penalties imposed upon, any railroad or any agent or officer thereof shall, insofar as the same are applicable, be required of, and imposed upon, such common carriers of property by water.
Office; powers and duties, general enumeration. 195.03(1)(1)
The office may take testimony and administer oaths and may promulgate rules to govern its proceedings and to regulate the mode and manner of all hearings. All hearings shall be open to the public.
(2) Office initiative.
In any matter within its jurisdiction under ch. 192
or this chapter, the office may initiate, investigate and order a hearing at its discretion upon such notice as it considers proper.
(7) Study carrier business, demand information.
The office may inquire into the management of the business of all railroads, and shall keep itself informed as to the manner in which the same is conducted, and may obtain from any railroad all necessary information to enable the office to perform the duties and carry out the objects for which it is responsible.
(8) Questionnaires, answers compulsory.
The office shall prepare blanks for the purpose of obtaining the information which it may deem necessary or useful to the proper exercise of its functions, which shall conform as nearly as practicable to the forms prescribed by the interstate commerce commission, and shall furnish such blanks to railroads, and every railroad receiving such blanks, shall cause the same to be properly filled out and verified under oath by its proper officer and returned to the office within the time fixed by the office.
(9) Examine books and files of carriers.
The commissioner of railroads or any person employed by the office for that purpose shall, upon demand, have the right to inspect the books and papers of any railroad and to examine under oath any officer, agent or employee of such railroad in relation to its business and affairs; provided that any person other that the commissioner of railroads who makes such demand shall produce his or her authority under the hand and seal of the office.
(10) Production of records and files kept out of state.
The office may, by an order or subpoena to be served in the manner that a circuit court summons is served, require the production within this state, at such time and place as it may designate, of any books, papers or accounts kept by any railroad without the state, or verified copies in lieu thereof, if the office shall so order.
(11) Uniform system of accounting.
The office may prescribe a uniform system of keeping and rendering accounts of all railroad business transacted in this state, and the time within which railroads shall adopt such system; provided that all forms of accounts which may be prescribed by the office shall conform as nearly as practicable to similar forms prescribed by federal authority.
(12) Time for filing rate tariffs.
The office shall fix the time for filing railroad schedules relative to the transportation of passengers and property and of any service in connection therewith.
(13) Schedule forms.
The office may prescribe the forms for railroad schedules.
(14) Passes to shippers.
The office may prescribe regulations for free transportation of attendants upon shipments of livestock.
(15) Elevators and warehouses.
The office may prescribe rules and regulations covering the charges and manner of conducting the business of public elevators and warehouses upon railroad ground.
(16) Car service.
The office may make reasonable regulations for furnishing cars to shippers, and for moving, loading and unloading cars and for weighing cars and freight, and to test railroad weights and scales used in weighing freight or cars.
(17) Private tracks.
The office shall have control of private railroad tracks insofar as the same are used by common carriers for the transportation of freight, in all respects the same as though such tracks were part of a public railroad.
(18) Safety devices.
The office may make reasonable rules, regulations, specifications and standards for the installation, operation and maintenance of all safety devices and measures.
(19) Railroad structures.
The office may order the repair or reconstruction of any inadequate or unsafe railroad track or structure.
(25) Distribution of orders.
The office shall upon application furnish certified copies, under its seal, of any order made by it, which shall be prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein.
The office may sue and be sued in that name, and may confer with or participate in any proceedings before any regulatory agency of any other state or of the federal government.
(29) Train privileges.
The employees authorized by the office to perform railroad inspection duties may, in the performance of such duties, ride in and upon any engine, car or train of any class, of any railroad, upon payment of the lawful passenger fare, but such railroad shall not thereby be deemed to become a common carrier of passengers other than on passenger cars.
Complaints, investigation, hearings, notice. 195.04(1)(1)
Upon complaint of any person, including any state agency or railroad, that any railroad rate, fare, charge, or classification or any regulation or practice whatever affecting the transportation of persons or property, or any service in connection therewith, is in any respect unreasonable or unjustly discriminatory or that any service is inadequate, the office may direct the department to investigate the complaint and shall set the complaint for hearing. The report of the department shall be presented to the office only at the hearing on the complaint, if hearing is requested and held. No order may be entered by the office without a public hearing.
The office shall, prior to such hearing, notify the railroad complained of that a complaint has been made, and 20 days after such notice has been given the office may proceed to set a time and place for a hearing.
The office shall give the railroad and the complainant 20 days' notice of the hearing and the matters to be considered and determined. Both the railroad and complainant shall be entitled to be heard and shall have process to enforce the attendance of witnesses.
The notice provided for in subs. (2)
may be combined but if combined the notice shall not be less than 20 days.
Separate rate hearings; absence of direct damage.
The office may, when complaint is made of more than one rate or charge, order separate hearings thereon, and may consider and determine the several matters complained of separately and at such times as it may prescribe. No complaint shall at any time be dismissed because of the absence of direct damage to the complainant.
Whenever the office believes that any rate or charge may be unreasonable or unjustly discriminatory or that any service is inadequate or cannot be obtained or that an investigation of any matter relating to any railroad should for any reason be made, it may request the department to investigate the same with or without notice.
Procedure after summary investigation. 195.043(1)(1)
If, after summary investigation by the department, the office becomes satisfied that sufficient grounds exist to warrant a formal hearing being ordered as to the matters investigated, it shall set a time and place for a hearing. The office shall publish notice of any such investigation in its weekly calendar and the report of the department and all matters considered by the office with respect thereto shall be available for public inspection upon request.
Notice of the time and place for such hearing shall be given to the railroad, and to such other interested persons as the office deems necessary, as provided in s. 195.04
, and thereafter proceedings shall be had and conducted in reference to the matter investigated in like manner as though complaint had been filed with the office relative to the matter investigated, and the same order or orders may be made in reference thereto as if such investigation had been made on complaint.
Witness fees and mileage. 195.044(1)
Each witness who appears before the office or its agent, by its order, shall receive for attendance the fees and mileage now provided for witnesses in civil cases in courts of record, which shall be audited and paid by the state in the same manner as other expenses are audited and paid, upon the presentation of proper vouchers sworn to by such witnesses and approved by the office. Said fees and mileage shall be charged to the appropriation for the office.
No witness subpoenaed at the instance of parties other than the office is entitled to compensation from the state for attendance or travel unless the office certifies that the witness' testimony was material to the matter investigated.
The office or any party may in any hearing cause the depositions of witnesses residing within or without the state to be taken in the manner prescribed by law for like depositions in civil actions in circuit courts. Any expense incurred or authorized by the office in taking such depositions shall be charged to the appropriation for the office.
A full and complete record shall be kept of all proceedings before the office or its hearing examiners.
Transcripts as evidence.
A transcribed copy of the evidence and proceedings or any specific part thereof, on any hearing under this chapter taken by the stenographer, being certified by such stenographer to be a true and correct transcript of all the testimony or of a particular witness, or of other specific part thereof, carefully compared with the original notes, and to be a correct statement of the evidence and proceedings had on such hearing so purporting to be taken and transcribed, shall be received in evidence with the same effect as if such reporter were present and testified to the fact so certified. A copy of such transcript shall be furnished on demand free of cost to any party to such hearing.
History: 1977 c. 29
Incriminating evidence. 195.048(1)
No person may be excused from testifying or from producing books, accounts and papers in any proceeding based upon or growing out of any violation of this chapter on the ground or for the reason that the testimony or evidence may tend to incriminate or subject the person to penalty or forfeiture, but no person having so testified may be prosecuted or subjected to any penalty or forfeiture for or on account of any such testimony. No person so testifying may be exempted from prosecution or punishment for perjury in testifying.
The immunity provided under sub. (1)
is subject to the restrictions under s. 972.085
History: 1977 c. 29
; 1989 a. 122
Office; rates, regulations, service, procedure. 195.05(1)(1)
Orders for rates and service.
Whenever the office shall find that any existing rate, fare, charge, or classification, or any joint rate, or any regulation or practice affecting the transportation of persons or property, or any service in connection therewith is unreasonable or unjustly discriminatory or that any service is inadequate, it shall determine and by order fix a reasonable rate, fare, charge, classification, joint rate, regulation, practice or service to be imposed, observed and followed in the future, in lieu of that found to be unreasonable or unjustly discriminatory or inadequate.
(2) Time to comply with orders.
Where the order made relates to service, and the same cannot, in the judgment of the office, be complied with within 20 days, the office may prescribe such additional time as in its judgment is reasonably necessary to comply with the order and may on application and for good cause shown further extend the time.
(3) Rates not changed by railroad.
All railroads to which the order applies shall make such changes in their schedule on file as may be necessary to make the same conform to said order, and no change shall thereafter be made by any railroad in any such rates, fares or charges, or in any joint rates except as provided in s. 195.08
(4) Modification of orders.
The office may by order at any time, upon notice to the railroad and after opportunity to be heard, rescind, alter or amend any order fixing any rate or rates, fares, charges or classification, or any other order made by the office.
(5) Joint rates apportioned.
Whenever the rate ordered substituted by the office shall be a joint rate or charge, and the railroads shall fail to agree upon the apportionment thereof within 20 days after the service of such order, the office may, after a like hearing, issue a supplemental order declaring the apportionment of such joint rate or charge and the same shall take effect as a part of the original order.
(6) Joint rates ordered.
Whenever the railroads shall refuse or neglect to establish joint rates the office may, upon notice to the railroads and after opportunity to be heard, fix and establish such joint rates, and if the railroads shall fail to agree upon the apportionment thereof within 20 days after service of such order, the office may, upon a like hearing, issue a supplemental order declaring the apportionment of such joint rates and the same shall take effect as part of the original order.
Doctrine of res judicata is inapplicable to commission orders since no time limitation is imposed for petitioning to reopen and commission can rescind previous executory order at any time. Village of Prentice v. Wis. Transp. Comm. 123 Wis. 2d 113
, 365 N.W.2d 899
(Ct. App. 1985).
All orders and determinations of the office are subject to judicial review under ch. 227
Office orders prima facie lawful.
All orders, determinations and decisions made by the office shall be in force and effective 20 days after the same has been served as required by s. 227.48
unless the office shall specify a different date upon which the same shall be effective, and shall be prima facie lawful, and all regulations, practices and service prescribed by the office shall be in force and shall be prima facie lawful and reasonable, until finally found otherwise upon judicial review thereof instituted pursuant to ch. 227
Law enforcement. 195.07(1)(1)
The office shall inquire into the neglect or violation of the laws of this state by railroads, or by the officers, agents or employees thereof, or by persons operating railroads, and shall report violations to the attorney general.
(2) Attorney general and district attorney to prosecute.
Upon request of the office, the attorney general or the district attorney of the proper county shall aid in any investigation, hearing or trial had under, and shall institute and prosecute all necessary actions or proceedings for the enforcement of, laws relating to railroads.
(3) Actions, character, venue.
Any forfeiture, fine or other penalty provided in chs. 192
may be recovered as a forfeiture in a civil action brought in the name of the state in the circuit court of Dane County, or in the county that would be the proper place of trial under s. 801.50
Railroad rates, schedules, service. 195.08(1g)
In this section "schedules" does not include "timetables".
(1r) Service rates to be adequate and just.
Every railroad shall furnish reasonably adequate service and facilities, and the charges made for the transportation of passengers or property or for any service in connection therewith, or for the receiving, switching, delivering, storing or handling of property shall be reasonable and just, and every unjust and unreasonable charge for such service is prohibited and declared to be unlawful.
(2) Schedules; publication.
Every railroad shall print in plain type and file with the office schedules which shall be open to public inspection showing all rates, fares and charges for the transportation of passengers and property and any service in connection therewith which it has established and which are in force at the time between all points in this state upon its line or any line controlled or operated by it. The schedules shall plainly state the places upon its line or any line controlled or operated by it in this state between which passengers and property will be carried, and there shall be filed therewith the classification of freight in force.
(3) Schedules, rules and regulations.
Every railroad shall publish with and as a part of such schedules all rules and regulations that in any manner affect the rates charged or to be charged for the transportation of passengers or property, its charges for delay in loading or unloading cars, for track and car service or rental and for demurrage, switching, terminal or transfer service, or for rendering any other service in connection with the transportation of persons or property.
(4) Schedules, copies in depots.
Two copies of said schedules for the use of the public shall be kept in every depot, station and office of such railroad in such form and place as to be easily accessible to the public.